Remembrance of the Daleks

imageI’ve recently watched Remembrance of the Daleks in which The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) travel back to Shoreditch, London, Earth in 1963 to retrieve the Hand of Omega and keep it from the Daleks. They meet Professor Jensen and Sergeant Mike Smith who have detected odd magnetic fluctuations outside Coal Hill School, and they discover another anomaly at Totter’s Lane Junk Yard where Group Captain Gilmore and his men have been attacked by an unidentified assailant which turns out to be a Renegade Dalek. Meanwhile, Sergeant Smith enlists the cooperation of Mr Ratcliffe, the Headmaster at Coal Hill, who is under the control of the evil imperial Daleks and alerts them to the Doctors Presence. Meanwhile While investigating Coal Hill School The Doctor and Ace have a nasty shock when they discover alien technology and lots of Imperial Daleks roaming the School, then they encounter Mr Ratcliffe who tries to clobber them

Having luckily escaped The Doctor, Sergeant Smith, Jensen, and her assistant Allison detect a large Dalek mothership in orbit above Earth. Meanwhile Ace unwisely decides to return to Coal Hill School even through it is crawling with imperial Daleks and despite taking out many Daleks with a baseball bat, she predictably finds herself in mortal danger, however the Doctor arrives just in the nick-of-time. Ratcliffe meanwhile tries to locate the Hand of Omega for the Daleks and The Dalek Emperor attempts to recover it from the Renegade Daleks. The Doctor then realises that two sets of Daleks are vying for control of the Hand of Omega (the device which enabled the Time-Lords to travel through time).

Ratcliffe acquires the Hand of Omega, And presents it to the Renegade Daleks and is taken hostage by the Daleks who prepare to flee. Meanwhile the Doctor encounters more Imperial Daleks at Coal Hill School. Then an Imperial Dalek Shuttle Lands at Coal Hill School and More Imperial Daleks disembark to face the Renegade Daleks. Using a Special Weapons Dalek for extra firepower, they advance towards the Renegade base. Meanwhile The Doctor decides to communicate with the Dalek Mothership, Gilmore Realises that Smith is Ratcliffe’s agent, And detains him but he escapes to the Renegade base to find Ratcliffe a prisoner. The Renegade Daleks are then attacked by the Imperial Daleks and all hell breaks loose. Meanwhile Ratcliffe and Mike flee with the Time Controller, and the Supreme Dalek orders it to be recovered. The Doctor then demands that the Imperial Daleks surrender the Hand of Omega, but The Emperor (who is revealed to be Davros,) announces sinister plans for his Daleks to overthrow the Time Lords by using the Hand of Omega….

Guglielmo Marconi

Often referred to as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi was born 25 April in 1874. He is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”. Much of Marconi’s work in radio transmission was built upon previous experimentation and the commercial exploitation of ideas by others such as Hertz, Maxwell, Faraday, Popov, Lodge, Fessenden, Stone, Bose, and Tesla. As an entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of the The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897, Marconi succeeded in making a commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists. In 1924, he was ennobled as Marchese Marconi.

imageMarconi’s development of the Radio Telegraph System has also helped save many lives too. One such device was aboard the RMS Titanic, and The two radio operators aboard the Titanic—Jack Phillips and Harold Bride— who were employed by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, were able to send distress sgnals Following the collision with the ice berg. As a result survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line. Also employed by the Marconi Company was David Sarnoff, the only person to receive the names of survivors immediately after the disaster via wireless technology. Wireless communications were reportedly maintained for 72 hours between the Carpathia and Sarnoff, but Sarnoff’s involvement has been questioned by some modern historians. When the Carpathia docked in New York, Marconi went aboard with a reporter from The New York Times to talk with Bride, the surviving operator. On 18 June 1912, Marconi gave evidence to the Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic regarding the marine telegraphy’s functions and the procedures for emergencies at sea. Britain’s postmaster-general summed up, referring to the Titanic disaster, “Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi…and his marvelous invention.”

Durng hs lifetme Marconi received many honours and awards for his invention. In 1909, Marconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun for his contributions to radio communications. In 1918, he was awarded the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Medal. In 1924, he was made a marquess by King Victor Emmanuel III., thus becoming Marchese Marconi. The Radio Hall of Fame (Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago) inducted Marconi soon after the inception of its awards. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009. The Dutch radio academy bestows the Marconi Awards annually for outstanding radio programmes, presenters and stations; the National Association of Broadcasters (US) bestows the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards also for outstanding radio programs and stations. Marconi was also inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1977 and A commemorative British two pound coin was released in 2001 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marconi’s first wireless communication as well as A commemorative silver 5 EURO coin whch was issued by Italy in 2009 honouring the centennial of Marconi’s Nobel Prize. A funerary monument to the effigy of Marconi can also be seen in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence but his remains are in Sasso, near Bologna. Marconi’s early experiments in wireless telegraphy were also the subject of two IEEE Milestones; one in Switzerland in 2003 and most recently in Italy in 2011.

The premier collection of Marconi artifacts was held by The General Electric Company, p.l.c. (GEC) of the United Kingdom which later renamed to Marconi plc and Marconi Corporation plc. In December 2004 the extensive Marconi Collection, held at the former Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex UK was gifted to the Nation by the Company via the University of Oxford. This consisted of the BAFTA award-winning MarconiCalling website, some 250+ physical artifacts and the massive ephemera collection of papers, books, patents and many other items. The artifacts are now held by The Museum of the History of Science and the ephemera Archives by the nearby Bodleian Library. The latest release, following three years work at the Bodleian, is the Online Catalogue to the Marconi Archives, released in November 2008.

Ira Gershwin’s lyrics to “They All Laughed” include the line, “They told Marconi wireless was a phony.” The band Tesla references him in “Edison’s Medicine” lyrics: They’ll sell you on Marconi, familiar, but a phony.” The band Jefferson Starship references him in their song We Built This City. The lyrics say: “Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio”. The 1955 play Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee includes a reference to Marconi in scene 1. The 1979 play ‘The Man From Mukinupin’ by Dorothy Hewett makes several references to Marconi by the character The Flasher, who imagines he is communicating with Marconi through a box of matches. “Marconi the great one, speak to me!”, “Marconi, Marconi, must I kill?” and “Marconi says I must not frighten the ladies…” The Bermuda rig, developed in the 17th century by Bermudians, became ubiquitous on sailboats around the world in the 20th century. The tall masts and triangular fore-and-aft sails reminded some people of Marconi’s wireless towers, hence the rig became known also as the Marconi rig. There is a sculpture devoted to Marconi in Washington, D.C.

Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA)

imageBjörn Ulvaeus, The Swedish singer and songwriter wth the group ABBA was born on 25th April 1945, ABBA were a Swedish pop/rock group formed in Stockholm in 1972,  comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. They are also known for winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest whch was held in Brighton and gave Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest and became the most successful group ever to take part in the contest. ABBA has sold over 370 million records worldwide and still sell millions of records a year, which makes them one of the best-selling music artists. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.

During the band’s active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson–although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. As a result, these relationship changes began appearing in the group’s music, and later compositions produced more introspective lyrics.

After ABBA broke up in early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with mixed success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name starring Meryl Streep, was released in 2008 and became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010

The Queen of Jazz -Ella Fitzgerald

Ofter known as the First Lady of Song” “Queen of Jazz” and “Lady Ella,” The American jazz and song vocalist Ella Fitzgerald was born April 25 in 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, In her youth Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell, later saying, “My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it….I tried so hard to sound just like her. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing and had a vocal range spanning three octaves. Sadly In 1932, her mother tragically died from a heart attack, Following this trauma, Fitzgerald’s grades dropped dramatically and she frequently skipped school and was first taken in by an aunt she also worked as a lookout at a bordello and also with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner. When the authorities caught up with her, she was first placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale, the Bronx. However, when the orphanage proved too crowded she was moved to the New York Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York, a state reformatory. Eventually she escaped and for a time was homeless

She made her singing debut at 17 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. She pulled in a weekly audience at the Apollo and won the opportunity to compete in one of the earliest of its famous “Amateur Nights”. She had originally intended to go on stage and dance but, intimidated by the Edwards Sisters, a local dance duo, she opted to sing instead in the style of Connee Boswell. She sang Boswell’s “Judy” and “The Object of My Affection,” a song recorded by the Boswell Sisters, and won the first prize of US$25.00. In January 1935, Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House and began singing regularly with Chick Webb’s Orchestra through 1935 at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs with them, including “Love and Kisses” and “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)”. But it was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, a song she co-wrote, that brought her wide public acclaim.In 1942, Fitzgerald left the band to begin a solo career and had several popular hits with such artists as the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, and the Delta Rhythm Boys.

With the demise of the Swing era and the decline of the great touring big bands, a major change in jazz music occurred. The advent of bebop led to new developments in Fitzgerald’s vocal style, influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. While singing with Gillespie, Fitzgerald recalled, “I just tried to do with my voice what I heard the horns in the band doing.” Her 1945 scat recording of “Flying Home” was desribed as “one of the most influential vocal jazz records of the decade Where other singers, most notably Louis Armstrong, had tried similar improvisation, no one before Miss Fitzgerald employed the technique with such dazzling inventiveness.” Her bebop recording of “Oh, Lady be Good!” was similarly popular and increased her reputation as one of the leading jazz vocalists.

Fitzgerald sadly passed away however During her prolific career Ella Fitzgerald won thirteen Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement in 1967 And and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush. Other major awards and honors she received during her career were the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award, National Medal of Art, first Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, named “Ella” in her honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, UCLA Spring Sing.Across town at the University of Southern California, she received the coveted USC “Magnum Opus” Award which hangs in the office of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

In 1997, Newport News, Virginia created a music festival with Christopher Newport University to honor Ella Fitzgerald in her birth city. The Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival is designed to teach the region’s youth of the musical legacy of Fitzgerald and jazz. Past performers at the week-long festival include: Diana Krall, Arturo Sandoval, Jean Carne, Phil Woods, Aretha Franklin, Freda Payne, Cassandra Wilson, Ethel Ennis, David Sanborn, Jane Monheit, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ramsey Lewis, Patti Austin, and Ann Hampton Callaway.

Callaway, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Patti Austin have all recorded albums in tribute to Fitzgerald. Callaway’s album To Ella with Love features fourteen jazz standards made popular by Fitzgerald, and the album also features the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Bridgewater’s album Dear Ella featured many musicians that were closely associated with Fitzgerald during her career, including the pianist Lou Levy, the trumpeter Benny Powell, and Fitzgerald’s second husband, double bassist Ray Brown. Bridgewater’s following album, Live at Yoshi’s, was recorded live on April 25, 1998, on what would have been Fitzgerald’s 81st birthday. There is also a bronze sculpture of Fitzgerald in Yonkers,created by American artist Vinnie Bagwell, the city in which she grew up and there s also a bust of Fitzgerald on the campus of Chapman College in Orange, California.

Andy Bell -Erasure

Andy Bell, singer songwriter with Synth pop duo Erasure, was born 25th April 1964 in Peterborough.His band mate in Erasure, Vince Clarke, formed Erasure after leaving Depeche Mode in 1981 and Yazoo and placing an advert in Melody Maker looking for a vocalist for a new musical project. He selected Andy Bell. The origins of the band’s name are unclear. One possible explanation is that in 1985, a Mute Records technician is believed to have accidentally written “erasure” on a demo tape for “Who Needs Love Like That” submitted by Clarke and Bell. At the time, the duo still hadn’t chosen a name for themselves, and when they rescued the tape, they decided upon Erasure. They first entered the music scene in 1985 with their debut single “Who Needs Love Like That”. Following the release of their fourth single “Sometimes“, the duo established itself on the UK Singles Chart and became one of the most successful artists of the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.

Erasure’s first three singles were commercial failures in the UK, although the third, “Oh L’amour”, charted well in Australia and a few European countries (especially in France, where it still remains Erasure’s only hit to date, and Germany where it was a Top 16 success). Their debut album, Wonderland, was mostly recorded in 1985 and released in June 1986. Although it only made the UK Top 75, it made a sizeable impact in Germany, making the Top 20. It was with the release of their fourth single, “Sometimes”, that Erasure finally received recognition in the UK in late 1986. The song peaked at number two in the UK and Germany and spent many weeks in the UK Top 40, marking the beginning of a long string of major hits for the duo. From 1986 to 1997, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 20 hits in the UK, while only having 3 Top 20 hits in the US (on the Billboard Hot 100): “A Little Respect“, “Chains of Love” and “Always“. Erasure’s next album, The Circus, was released in March 1987 and reached number six and turned platinum in the UK with three additional hit singles: “It Doesn’t Have To Be”, “Victim of Love” and “The Circus”. The album remained on the charts for over a year.

Erasure’s third album, The Innocents, was released in April 1988. Preceded by the Top 10 single “Ship of Fools”, the album hit number one in the UK on its initial release and returned to the summit a year later, eventually going triple platinum. It also turned platinum in the U.S., generating two Top 20 hits in “Chains of Love” and “A Little Respect”. The Innocents was the first of five consecutive number one albums for Erasure in the UK, including the greatest hits compilation Pop! The First 20 Hits. In November 1988, the Crackers International EP, led by the song “Stop!”, hit number two in the UK singles chart. The albums Wild! (1989) and Chorus (1991) both contained four Top 20 singles and were major sellers.

Crackers International was bettered in 1992 by another EP, Abba-esque, covering four ABBA hits, which became Erasure’s first (and to date only) number one in the UK Singles Chart. It featured a memorable video of the duo dressed in ABBA outfits, and was one of the principal drivers of the ABBA revival scene in the 1990s. Also in 1990, Erasure contributed the song “Too Darn Hot” to the Cole Porter tribute album “Red Hot + Blue” produced by the Red Hot Organization. In 1992, a singles compilation, Pop! – the First 20 Hits, also hit number one and went triple platinum, featuring all the band’s singles released from 1985 to 1992.

In 1994, Erasure released I Say I Say I Say, their fifth consecutive number one in the UK Albums Chart. Its first single, “Always”, became the band’s third Top 20 hit in the United States, next its second single, “Run to the Sun” was released in July and became their final UK Top 10 hit until 2003. Its third and final single, “I Love Saturday” was released in November. The October 1995 release of the album Erasure marked a determined shift away from Erasure’s signature three-minute synthpop to a more introspective and experimental sound. Nevertheless, it made the UK Top 15 and spawned two UK Top 20 singles, “Stay With Me” and “Fingers & Thumbs”. A remixed version of “Rock Me Gently” was released only in Germany as third single.

In spite of a return to three-minute pop songs, the 1997 album Cowboy did not restore the success of their 1986–1994 era. Cowboy enjoyed a short-lived success, peaking at number ten in the UK but lasting only two weeks in the UK Top 40. In the U.S. billboard charts though, it was one of their most successful records. The first single “In My Arms” reached number 13 in the UK and entered the Top 2 in the U.S. Dance chart. The second single “Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me” made number 23 in the UK. The third single “Rain” was also only released in Germany and Czech Republic.

In October 2000, Erasure released their ninth studio album Loveboat, containing the single “Freedom”,In 2001 the released a limited EP “Moon & the Sky” contained new versions of the title song, a cover of the song “Baby Love” and some acoustic versions of Loveboat songs. The 2003 release Other People’s Songs was a collection of cover versions. Including a cover of Peter Gabriel’s song “Solsbury Hill” and a cover of Steve Harley’s “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). In 2003 a new best-of compilation was released, called Hits! The Very Best of Erasure. Included was a new version of the 1986 song “Oh L’amour” . Erasure’s 2005 album Nightbird’s contained the single, “Breathe”. The next single, “Don’t Say You Love Me”, enabled purchasers to configure their own remixes of the single through the band’s website, with each variant of the song limited to a single download. The third single was a double A-side, features new versions of “Here I Go Impossible Again”/”All This Time Still Falling Out of Love”.

Union Street was a 2006 side-project which featured a collection of previously released album tracks that the band reinterpreted in an acoustic/country & western style. The duo then released a more ‘dance-oriented’ album Titled Light at the End of the World, containing the single “I Could Fall in Love with You”, “Sunday Girl”, and The Storm Chaser EP which included an exclusive B-side “Early Bird”, a duet with Cyndi Lauper. In 2009 they released Total Pop! – the First 40 Hits, a collection of Erasure’s first 40 hits plus a new remix of “Always” by Jeremy Wheatley, Erasure also released a six-track EP of classic remixes entitled Erasure.Club andTo celebrate 21 years since its release, the album The Innocents was remastered and re-released on 26 October 2009. Erasure’s next album Tomorrow’s World contained the singles When I Start To (Break It All Down)”, “Be with You” and “Fill Us with Fire, Erasure also toured internationally in 2011. In 2013, Erasure released their first holiday album, Snow Globe featuring a cover of the 1973 Steeleye Span track “Gaudete”